On a week when I completed reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace it was appropriate to go back in history, as well as play a tune entitled Napoleonfish. I am always trying to catch up with records I have meant to play, tunes I had forgotten about and artists that have not featured on Cosmic Jazz for some time. The mission continued on this week’s show. The ‘historical’ sequence began with Andrew Hill, long a CJ favourite, but whose tunes have not been played for some time. The track Flight flowed very nicely from the two Polish jazz tunes that preceded it. Was he an influence? I’ve no idea but suspect he might have been.
A test of a presenter’s/DJ’s skill is how successful you are at changing the mood and/or tempo of the music. I felt it was time for a change after Abdullah Ibrahim’s Whoza Mtwana but after such a moving, powerful and spiritually uplifting piece was it right to go to the Brazilian-inflected jazz-dance party time piece of Mario Biondi’s Rio de Janeiro Blue? Well, that is what I did – judge for yourself.
Another influence on the choice of music for the programme is things that have appeared via the shuffle option of my iPod. One such tune was Go Slow by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, which I prefaced with the excellent Jessica Lauren and her track The Name of Fela Will Always Stand for Freedom, from her 2012 self titled release. Go Slow when I heard it was not one of the Fela tunes I recognised; but it is great.The Go Slow refers to the permanent snarl-up of the Lagos traffic which is symbolic of the progress of officialdom throughout Nigeria The track is available on one of the best of Fela’s 1970s albums, Roforofo Fight. Recommended for the title track too, and a wonderful Fela slow jam called Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am.
Since playing this I have been in touch with and old friend, and former Sunday league football team colleague, who knew Fela and his family and once did an interview with him for the Guardian at his celebrated club and compound outside Lagos, The Shrine. He reports that each October there is a Felebration with various cultural events surrounding the maestro and then a big gig up at The Shrine, which my friend has attended and tries to get to every year. Apparently, Fela’s son Seun plays there on the last Saturday of each month and there is always a big crowd. The big news on Fela is that his complete works were re-released in one box set by Wrasse Records last year – and even if you many Fela discs already there will still be much to discover. To play Sun Ra after Fela seemed to be a perfect match of two of music’s greatest revolutionaries.
I hope you enjoyed the show, or enjoy it if you are about to listen on Mixcloud. Comments on this blog are always welcome.
- A-Kineton – Bleak Sun
- Tomek Grochot (feat. Eddie Henderson) – Napoleonfish
- Andrew Hill – Flight
- Kenny Barron – Other Places
- Charles Lloyd Quartet – Mirror
- Max Roach Plus Four – Juliano
- Abdullah Ibrahim – Whoza Mtwana
- Mario Biondi – Rio de Janeiro Blue
- Wilson Simonal – Nem Vem Que Nao Tem
- Esperanza Spalding (feat. Joe Lovano) – I Can’t Help It
- Jessica Lauren – The Name Of Fela Will Always Stand For Freedom
- Fela Anikulapo Kuti – Go Slow
- Sun Ra – Space Loneliness